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Morelli's in Broadstairs

16 of the very best things to do in Broadstairs

With a sandy beach, clifftop walks and old-school seaside charm, this stretch of Kent coast is a bucolic dream. Here are the best things to do in Broadstairs

Joe Minihane
Written by
Katie Gregory
&
Joe Minihane
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When Charles Dickens needed to get his head down and write, he would retreat to Broadstairs. And after a couple of lungfuls of salty sea air in this coastal Kent town, it’s easy to see why. Hemmed in by pretty bays and beaches, and framed by a backdrop of huge chalk cliffs and hidey-hole caves, it’s a day-tripper’s dream. So make like Dickens and plan a great escape to the seaside – as you’ll find, he certainly had good taste. These are the best things to do in Broadstairs right now.

RECOMMENDED: More brilliant things to do around Kent

Best things to do in Broadstairs

First up
Photograph: Shutterstock

First up

Head straight for Viking Bay beach. The town’s headline stretch is a pristine crescent of sand that shelters a tidal pool. Walk the clifftop Victoria Gardens and end up at Bleak Housethe lofty spot where Dickens wrote ‘David Copperfield’. Sadly, the house remains closed, but just a few longing looks will leave you feeling inspired.

Stop for lunch
Photograph: Dinko G Kyuchukov/Shutterstock.com

Stop for lunch

Grab fish and chips to go from Star of the Sea and finish up with a sticky gypsy tart from The Old Bakehouse. Both are a stone’s throw from the beach. Wyatt & Jones is where it's at for Sunday lunch, with stunning views to go with its excellent menu and wine list. It's due to reopen in September and is well worth booking ahead for.

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Drink like a local

The pub scene in Broadstairs includes giant gastros like The Charles Dickens and quirky micropubs like The Chapel – a chapel-turned-bookshop-turned-alehouse that still somehow manages to be a bit of all three. While some boozers remain shut post-Covid, The Tartar Frigate is very much open, doing a fine line in local ales and fresh seafood.

Soak up the vibes
Photograph: Shutterstock

Soak up the vibes

Cycle the Viking Coastal Trail. This 25-mile loop circles the Isle of Thanet, and the views are something else. On foot? Walk the three-and-a-half-mile stretch to Margate. Pause at Botany Bay. This picturesque sandy beach is dotted with giant chalk stacks and backed by huge white cliffs, which hide a handful of smugglers’ caves.

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Splash the cash

You’re more likely to splurge on seafood than shopping in Broadstairs, but what you will find in spades are art galleries, clustered around Viking Bay. The biggies are The Broadstairs Gallery and New Kent Art, but pop into The Little Art Gallery too. If the weather isn't up to scratch, then check out the tiny but ace Palace Cinema, an independent spot that shows the latest arthouse movies.

If you only do one thing
Photograph: Shutterstock

If you only do one thing

If you don’t end up with ice cream dribbling down your arms, did you even visit the Great British Seaside? For masterful scoops of the sweet stuff, head to retro ice-cream parlour Morelli’s. The nostalgic spot, complete with formica tables, has been looking out over Viking Bay since 1932.

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And if you stay the night, wake up here

You don’t need to book an exotic getaway to enjoy the peaceful lap of waves as you lie in bed – just head to sunny Broadstairs and snap up a room at The Bay Tree Hotel. Housed in a homely-looking red-brick Victorian building, this pretty B&B sits opposite the beach, and has been furnished with care and flair. Colourfully painted bedrooms are decked out with upcycled antiques, while bathrooms are pleasingly contemporary. Push the boat out and book an ensuite with a balcony and sea view. This Kent gem is possibly the perfect home-from-home. Grace Allen

Looking for more stuff to do in England?

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